As I wrote this, I hadn’t yet boarded, but experience told me that, as a single traveler, I’d be getting a seat in the front of the plane – an ideal place if you don’t mind being wedged in with an older couple wearing matching sweat suits.And I don’t. Southwest’s first-come, first-seated policy works for me.
As the world makes its annual trip into holiday-fueled “couple craziness,” it’s important for single folks to carve out their own place so they don’t feel left behind in the season of togetherness.
Ease of travel is only one example of how partnerless people have an advantage during the holidays.
The mechanics of travel are easier when you’re going solo. Not only that, but while couples are haggling over destinations, singles can hop a plane and head to the family gathering of their choice. Or Aruba.
Single people can be on the beach getting back rubs from the natives while married couples are still debating whose in-laws get the pleasure of their company.
Singles also can smile about the low-grade shopping expectations put upon them. They can buy something for Mom and Dad and pretty much call it a season. Couples, on the other hand, are buying gifts for two sides of a family and probably other couples. Couples who hang out as friends are much more likely to exchange gifts than single people who hang out as friends.
Food preparation is another aspect of the holidays that warrants attention. For couples who don’t enjoying getting down and dirty in the kitchen culinarily, this can be a troubling time of the year. What with holiday parties, holiday dinners and holiday potlucks, there’s an enormous expectation to bake a cake and pitch in.
Not so for the single.
Single people – unmarried men in particular – tend to get off cheap when it comes to taking a dish to a friend’s house or a work function. Sometimes single men can barely find clean clothes to put on in the morning. It would be preposterous to rely upon them to take something edible to a social gathering.
And no discussion of the benefits of holiday singledom would be complete without the mention of Christmas cards. Anyone who has toiled for the hours it takes to establish and edit a list, collect the appropriate addresses, personalize the cards, stamp and mail the darn things can tell you it takes less time to get a master’s degree.
So while we’re all bombarded with images of happily married couples and their smiling families, remember that single people have reasons to be thankful, too.